By Ven. S. Dhammika
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Additional resources for Daily Readings from Buddha's Words of Wisdom
39), when these end, what we conventionally call a particular 'being' ends, but this is no destruction of a 'real being'. 140, then this implies that the Self referred to earlier in the Sutta is also not accepted. 138 in its context, to get a full appreciation of its meaning. The Alagaddupama-sutta begins by saying that one should not learn Dhamma simply so as to be able to reproach others. 138 says is absolute folly: "This the world, this the Self, this after dying I will become, pennanent. .
45) ii) seeing things as not-Self was clearly regarded as playing a vital soteriological role. i) Given that a Self is not asserted, nor explicitly denied, and that seeing things as not-Self is so important, it becomes apparent that the concept of 'Self', and the associated deep-rooted feeling of 'I am', are being utilized for a spiritual end. The not-Self teaching can in fact be seen as a brilliant device - a skilful means - which uses a deep-seated human aspiration, ultimately illusory, to overcome the negative products of such an illusion.
Nevertheless, the earlier, pre-Buddhist Upani$ads (BU and CU) clearly linked Self to 'I am'. Though Self shares certain qualities with nibbtina (both being pennanent, beyond suffering, and unconditioned), it is clear why the Buddha would have shunned any attempt to see the spiritual goal in tenns of 'Self. 46). If the later Upani$ads came to see ultimate reality as beyond the sense of 'I am', Buddhism would then say: why call it 'Self, then? 36) Of course, within the Buddhist fold, a school developed which upheld the reality of the Self-like 'person' (puggala): the Personalists (Puggalavadins).